Barbershops have long been a cornerstone of Black culture, serving as a safe space for community members to engage in critical discussions and connect with one another. As a proud barbershop owner, you understand the importance of these establishments in preserving our cultural heritage. Today, we explore how the Metaverse can revolutionize the barbershop experience and continue to serve as a powerful platform for Black voices.
"The Barbershop's Legacy: A Pillar of Black Culture and Community"
Black men have barbered since the time of slavery, but that skill was prioritized for grooming white men only. As seen in the Django Unchained movie, slave owners liked to be shaved by a slave in the comfort of their home, so that skill was highly valued and taught to Black men and boys by white barbers who prefer to remain sitting in their homes while their slaves did the work at their establishments. Once the skilled and newly freed Negro started proliferating as a new successful entrepreneur, segregation was forced in those establishments with the hope of strangling them financially, but as an essential service -not only reserved to the white man- Black barbers opened their doors to their fellow comrades and continued being successful. By operating businesses, hiring employees, and providing spaces for discussion, Black barbers not only advanced their own economic interests, but also the civil rights movement. Furthermore, some barbers used their profits to invest in their communities and to purchase the freedom of enslaved family members.

The complex role that Black barbershops played and continue to play in shaping ideology and grassroots political debate is undeniable. And these safe spaces have continued to exist to date. By nurturing these vital connections, barbershops have contributed to the ongoing fight for justice, equality, and empowerment.

“The Barbershop role today: Beyond the haircut”
While discussing Black barbers, the nature of their power, and the significance of their workplace today, we must refer to the “customer experience”. And I am not talking about the haircut itself but the experience each customer lives once they cross the gate… the before, during and after moment around that barber chair is about one thing: Barbershop talks. Barbershop talk is unfiltered. A real safe place to discuss Black Masculinity. Sports, Politics, Religion … all the taboo and more controversial discussion topics are allowed in these spaces.

With the proliferation of AI, new articles pop up every day predicting how many jobs are going to disappear in the coming years. But of all those lists, there are jobs that will stand the test of time, empires and revolutions... and the profession of barber is one of them. If you frequent a Black-owned barbershop you know what I'm talking about. In many cases our barber has become our mentor, psychologist, and for some, a father. Many have said that visiting their barber for a haircut on a regular basis helped build their identity as a “Black man”, and they are not far from the truth. Outside could be chaos, but once inside the barbershop, it gave people the sense of security. These barbershops are “institutions” that have provided anchor, history, memory, and support.

And not only that, the role of the master barber and the business of the barbershop will persist as an exceptionally accessible path to entrepreneurship to everyday Black folks. It is one of the businesses that requires the least start-up capital to venture into: a razor, a hair clipper, one month's rent for a barber chair and willingness to learn may be all that is necessary. For many young Black men who want to provide for their families and who have seen the doors of opportunity close several times under their noses, a mentor in this industry can be a turning point in their lives.

"The Digital Transformation: Embracing the Metaverse"

Yes, the barbering profession is not going anywhere, but the ceiling for business growth is reached very quickly if in addition to a good haircut and a renovated establishment we do not offer anything "extra" to our customers. Raising the price per cut is a strategy that many are afraid to do more than once a year. In addition, the location has a certain radius of action and customer acquisition, so the volume of the clientele is also limited by where you decide to practice.

As our world becomes increasingly digitized, it's essential to adapt and leverage new technologies to preserve and enrich the barbershop experience. By integrating your barbershop into the Metaverse, you can create a virtual space that fosters connection, encourages open dialogue, and amplifies Black voices on a global scale… and of course, allows you to stand out from the competition and make the damn growth ceiling disappear.

Creating a virtual barbershop within the Metaverse enables you to maintain the essence of your physical establishment while expanding your reach and impact. By blending cutting-edge technology with the cherished elements of traditional barbershops, you can offer a unique experience that combines the best of both worlds. Embracing the Metaverse can help you take an active role in shaping the future of Black culture and community. By providing a digital space for people to connect, share ideas, and engage in crucial conversations, your virtual barbershop can continue to play a pivotal role in promoting unity, empowerment, and progress.

“Building a Virtual Barbershop: Bridging the Gap Between Tradition and Innovation”
"But how?" you may ask. Here are 4 Metaverse use cases for pioneering barbers who want to be part of Black history and replicate and scale what our ancestors achieved a few decades ago:

1)    A virtual barbershop event space, hosting panel discussions, workshops, and networking events to foster community engagement and growth. The most relevant discussions can continue in the Metaverse, and customers won't have to wait until their next haircut to comment on the latest development they want to share or give their opinion on.
2)    A virtual mentorship platform, connecting aspiring barbers with industry experts to learn new techniques, exchange ideas, and build their careers. You can help other young people achieve independence, and why not? You could monetize this service.
3)    A virtual marketplace for independent barbers, offering chair rentals and resources to help entrepreneurs launch their own successful barbering businesses. And why not? Become the Uber of barber chairs in your city by connecting free chairs with impatient customers (especially on weekends).
4)    Launch a loyalty program based on tokens: The Luxury barbershop could create a token-based loyalty program where customers earn tokens for every visit, referral, or purchase. These tokens can then be used to redeem exclusive rewards, such as free haircuts, special treatments, or exclusive NFTs.


Imagine a world where barbershops are more than just a place for grooming - but as a hub for connection and empowerment. The possibilities of the Metaverse applied to Black barbershops are endless, both for those who want to scale up their business and for those who want to focus on the more social aspect of the culture.

Today, barbershops can not only become mental health support for Black men, but also activism hubs like they were in the past, so men can lead the way in our community, rediscover a purpose and bring positive impact in a secure and organized way, but now on a global scale thanks to Web3 technology. Remember, SUCCESS IS NOT PERMANENT, NEITHER IS FAILURE.

MAY, 04 / 2023
As Black-owned barbershops continue to evolve and adapt to changing times, it's more important than ever to find innovative solutions that promote inclusivity, community, and growth. If you're inspired by the potential of the Metaverse to transform the way we approach beauty and grooming, I invite you to schedule a call with me today. Let's explore how JJBK Studio can help you create a customized Metaverse project that redefines the barbershop experience, attracts new customers, and takes your business to the next level.
Text author: Jimmy Jean
Photography: Midjourney AI ©JJBK studio 2023

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